I think of family as my blanket. A blanket of comfort, fun, safety – all the things you would go to when you need coverage of any kind. Sadly, for those like me that consider their family a blanket like this, spikes in divorce rates over the years have de-threaded or even ripped these blankets apart. Growing up I felt like there were only negative associations and sad stories to be told following a divorce’s effect on a family. Although this may be true for some and was a frightening vision for me as I grew up watching my blanket slowly reach that point, I’m grateful today that my blanket is stronger than ever.

My parents divorced when I was in college. Even with the many foreshadowing’s that made this less surprising, devastating feelings flooded me and my sister; making us feel less comfort, less fun, less safe. Older age or younger age, we didn’t have the same blanket we felt like we had grown up with. Carrying on with our lives as best as we could, a few hard years of discovery followed for my parents and our family, but eventually tunnels were found, and light began to shine through the dark walls that the world tries to paint around “broken families”.

As weird of a situation as it can be to meet your parents’ dating prospects at 20+ years of age, and sometimes even weirder, their children, we all pushed through some awkward and interesting small talks and dinner conversations. We pushed through so much so that the initial judgements and hesitancies were washed away and allowed real relationship building to occur. 

The initial pains and sadness that can be felt by a divorce, whether real or pressures by what the world says it has to be, were short lived. Not only did my parents both find others to share life with again, but both also had children close to me and my sister’s age that went through the same “older age” divorce experience that our family had. I now have new brothers and sisters that I consider friends. 

But in addition to two, new, separate families forming, one bigger family formed. Being together for so long with the same friends, it’s hard to split a life right down the middle. Instead, my parents have remained great friends and my stepparents have joined right into the original circle. So much so that they often find themselves playing a game of euchre against each other at the same table. It’s refreshing to know that the divorce wasn’t strong enough to break competitive banter and a battle that is a game of cards. I’ve often seen my parents receive odd comments about how well they and their new partners get along with each other, to which they respond, “isn’t it better for everyone that way?” It always makes my heart happy to hear this response.

The goal of love and comfort has proven the objective in life for my little, now slightly larger, village I call family. Our blanket went on an adventure and was ripped. But…on that adventure, our blanket found new patches – different and strong patches. And in the end, our blanket was stitched back together and is bigger, better, and stronger. And that I recognize and am very grateful for.